Team Cambodia grabs 10th spot in global STEM challenge

Khmer Times

A team of 12 high school students of E2STEM Preah Yukunthor High School were ranked 10th among 175 participating countries in the 2020 FIRST Global Challenge, an international robotic competition created for high school students around the world to display their knowledge about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The FIRST Global Challenge is an annual international robotic competition created with an aim of encouraging young people, especially high school students, to be more involved with STEM subjects.

This year’s competition was held virtually with the theme of: “Connecting Communities.” The event involved 25 social media  and technical challenges, and technical training on robotics.

The participants were required to join the challenges of 10 STEM talks and underwent three technical training sessions on robot designs, controlling and programming, and computer-aided design.

The competition lasted for three months from early July to the end of September.

Team coordinator Nhep Ponhrith, 16, said that to win 10th place in the competition, good teamwork and a flow of information was essential because, without collaboration and effort from each member of the team with clear and precise information, they wouldn’t have been able to make it through.

Ponhrith also outlined that being involved in this global competition opened his eyes to the beauty of STEM as well as the advancement of technology and knowledge that other countries have developed.

Meanwhile, when asked about his view on the capacity and talent of teams from other countries, Ponhrith said through observation, developing countries such as Cambodia are not inferior to neighbouring countries because all we need is an opportunity to showcase our talent and creativity.

He also said that the time limitation was a bit challenging for the whole team, as some of the students stayed in their hometowns while others were in the capital, so arranging meeting places with enough internet connection was a challenge for the whole team.

He added that grit and determination in overcoming the challenges were key to taking Team Cambodia to the top 10 in the competition.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron also outlined his admiration to the commitment and effort of the 12 high school students from E2STEM to make it through and rank 10th among many talented teams from around the world in the 2020 FIRST Global Challenge.

He also encouraged students to make the best use of the competition to upgrade their skills, as well as advised students about higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

E2STEM Preah Yukunthor School is a pilot project of Ministry of Education as Cambodia shifts its focus to STEM education, English and e-learning. The school is equipped with modern technology and updated curricula related to the field of education in STEM.

The school also consists of SPACEfield, a futsal pitch which is supported by Phillip Bank where students can enjoy their sport and games at the school

“Phillip Bank will continue focusing on its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by working on its support to the  E2STEM, a STEM Education initiative,” said Chan Mach, the CEO,  referring to the programme that trains young Cambodians to be professionals in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In August, Phillip Bank decided to continue focussing on its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by supporting more STEM education initiatives, especially with the E2STEM school, a programme that trains young Cambodians to be professionals in the area of STEM.